My dog is useless. He doesn't play dead, or roll over, or fetch, or chase rabbits. All he does is dig holes, great big holes at the bottom of the garden. Even his name is useless. He's called Fluffy. He's not fluffy. Today, there is just one hole. I look in the hole. I see a grubby little man, looking back at me. It's a big hole. He's a little man. He can't get out. “Well, help me up, numbskull,” The little man says and holds up his hands. I reach down. He grabs hold and I pull. He's not very heavy. I soon have him out. He's tiny. I'm eight and he's smaller than me. I look at him. He doesn't smile. I want to push him back into the hole. “Come on, Cloe, come on Grub,” Fluffy says; Fluffy my dog. I've got a talking dog. Fluffy shakes himself. I shake myself and run into the house. “Mum, Mum, Mum,” I say. Mum is in her office, peering at her computer. “Fluffy can talk.” “What are you doing here?” Mum asks. What am I doing here? That's her question. Fluffy can talk. He just dug up a little man. And that's her question. “Fluffy can talk,” I say. I say it loudly. In case she didn't hear me. “Get some towels.” She wants me to get towels. Is the woman deaf? “Fluffy can talk.” This time I shout. “She knows,” Fluffy says and flops down on the floor. “Not there Fluffy. Get the towels, Cloe. The old ones, on the bottom shelf.” She's done this before. Mum's done this before. Fluffy can talk. Mum knows. She had a supply of old towels. She's all set up for this. Whatever 'this' is. “I'm going to be sick.” It's a grubby little voice. Imagine if a tree root could speak. Maybe he is a tree root. Maybe he's a leprechaun or an elf. Nobody's telling me. “He's an alien,” Mum says after I scream at her. Grub's an alien. Only his name's not Grub. His name is too alien to say. He came through a wormhole. The wormhole ends in our back garden, three feet down. “How long has this been going on?” I ask. We are sitting drinking hot chocolate. Mum has got Fluffy cleaned up. Grub has had a shower. There is mud all over the bathroom. Grub is wearing a pair of my leggings. Mum hands him my old school sweatshirt. We were going to give it to the charity shop. “My granny started it,” Mum says. Grub shakes his head. “McMillan's have always been Guardians of the Gate.” He sounds a bit less like a tree root. He smells like ginger snaps.
Author's Notes 1. This is the first chapter of a children's book that I am writing with my grandson.
Copyright © 2015 Lindsay Oliver